Tuesday, October 19

Sea in the background | Culture


The German writer WG Sebald.  GETTY
The German writer WG Sebald. GETTY

A strange experience? Of course, it is enough to see that describing it well requires a certain cryptic tone. I lived it in a military camp in Almería, years ago, and it consisted of the perception of flashes that referred me to connection nodes between the past and the present, to interconnected foci of space and time, whose topology I understood that I would never understand, but Among which it was noted that the so-called living and the so-called dead could travel and thus meet.

Years later, the Almeria experience returned to me when WG Sebald said that he had gone to a London museum to see two paintings and that, behind him, also looking at them, there was a couple who were talking in a Central European language, a strange-looking couple, that did not seem of our time. Five hours later, the writer had to travel to the most peripheral underground station in London, which, as is known, is a city of about ten million inhabitants. There was no one on the platform at that station except the couple from the museum. Sebald concluded that coincidences are not coincidences, but that somewhere there is a relationship that from time to time sparkles through a worn fabric. And he added: “But it doesn’t make sense to speculate.”

Does not have it? I have thought about this for a long time and it seems to me that prowling around the relationships between the living and the dead has all the earmarks of being precisely one of the most forgotten essences in literature. “Writing: solving an internal nebula,” said Paul Valéry. If it is as I suspect one of those forgotten essences, the scandalous distance between the inspection of the worn fabric and that type of literature that lately they sell us as such and that is nothing more than a subject of the present (not reality) would be even greater. that the media forge.

Of course, the persistent destruction of literature by the book industry is not without its logic. A good friend used to say that our society would not dream of inventing literature now if it had not found it made, for how could capitalist society invent such a private practice, so socially unproductive, so difficult to value from the economic point of view?

Hence, these days we should not be so surprised to see that the art of speculating about the regions of the worn fabric is in full liquidation, replaced by the epic of the transpuerilism, from the murky sincerity of non-fiction and other narrative tendencies. Is it to despair? Yes, but let’s avoid it by remembering that a characteristic of the imagination, since time immemorial, is to always find itself at the end of an era. This time, someone will say, the destruction is serious, we are in a catastrophic transition to a new culture. Without neglecting the deep sea of ​​our terror, then I recommend saying that, both in the task of inspecting the worn tissue and in that of solving our internal nebula, the incorporation of an end will always be inescapable anyway.


elpais.com

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